Monday, September 19, 2011

DETOUR: Beer Cupcakes

Recently, three things happened in my life pretty much simultaneously.  My cousin was getting married at the same time that I discovered her future (and now) husband had a major thing for cupcakes at the same time that a friend sent me a recipe for beer cupcakes.  I had been aware before that my cousin and her fiance were beer people from some time we had spent together (and the fact that they just seem awesome), so the idea of creating something that combined two of their favorite things (and my favorite things) seemed like a great way to kick off their wedding weekend.

Now, most baking that includes beer involves chocolate flavors and stout beers.  These cupcakes included some IPA and honey.  The recipe called for a strong, flavorful IPA and I chose a beer called Hoppy Feet from the Clown Shoes Brewery.  It was described as a Black India Pale Ale and had a reasonably high percentage.  I figured that the higher the percentage, the stronger the beer, the more the flavor would come through in the cupcakes.

I guess I was right, though it was kind of hard to tell.  To be honest, the cupcakes kind of tasted like banana bread when they were cooked.  Not because of the banana flavor (of which there was none), but because of that moist and mildly slimy consistency.  As someone who does not like bananas and is mildly repulsed by the scent of baked bananas, this was not an altogether welcome turn of events.  Some people who tasted them said they could taste the beer flavor, but only if they'd already been made aware of the secret ingredient beforehand.  The flavor was fine, it just wasn't really beer-y, which I was disappointed about.  Come to think of it, I once made a beer bread that also wasn't really beer-y, so maybe it's just something about my expectations and beer in baking...

For the icing, the original recipe called for lavender honey icing.  I like flowery flavors in foods even less than I like banana bread (well, it might be a tie), so that didn't go over too well.  I made two ganaches.  I made a dark chocolate ganache with cinnamon and ginger, and a white chocolate ganache with chamomile, rose hips and mint.  I actually used a bag of Tazo Calm tea that I ripped open and let brew in the cream as I was heating it to pour over the chocolate.  The flavor of the white chocolate ganache was very good, but it didn't set up the way I hoped it would, so I ended up adding a bunch of powdered sugar that eventually helped it set.  It was very sweet.  The dark chocolate ganache was very tasty and went way quicker than the white chocolate, but isn't that always the case?

All in all, I might have been mildly disappointed in the outcome of the actual cupcake, but the bride and groom were quite pleased and all the cupcakes disappeared off the serving plate.  Now that I have been opened up to this idea of beer in baking, I have lots to experiment with.  I'm thinking that next time, the beer goes in the icing!

The bride and groom seemed to enjoy the cupcakes!

Here was the display of the amazingly delicious cupcakes they had at their wedding.
The Grasshopper ones were to die for!

Next Stop:  Hummingbird Cake!

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Especially the part about us being awesome...major cousin points for that. Seriously though, If you'd have told me a month ago that I'd enjoy eating my beer more than drinking it I would have said you were crazy. But I've got to say, after trying these high ABV goodies I may be converted. They were incredible! Clown Shoes also happens to be one of my favorite local brewers so kudos there. I’ll expect a batch every year on our anniversary. Thanks 